Society

Why We Stand With NATO

“There is only one thing worse than fighting with allies, and that is fighting without them.” Tim Kaine and Cory Gardner The Atlantic On April 4, 1949, Johannes Kaiv, the acting consul general of Estonia’s government-in-exile, sent a letter to Secretary of State Dean Acheson, which read: I have the honor to offer my best wishes to the signatories of the North Atlantic Pact, and to express my confidence that they, inspired by the ideals of democracy, of individual liberty, ... Read More »

Pompeo: There will be ‘devastating’ consequences if Turkey attacks Syria

April 4 (UPI) — U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned Turkey of “devastating” consequences if it attacks Syria. Darryl Coote Pompeo gave the warning to Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu Wednesday in Washington during the first day of the two-day NATO Ministerial, State Department Spokesman Robert Palladino said in a statement. “Secretary Pompeo expressed support for ongoing negotiations regarding northeast Syria, while warning of the potentially devastating consequences of unilateral Turkish military action in the region,” Palladino said in ... Read More »

The Hidden Cost of Al-Shabaab’s Campaign in North-eastern Kenya

Four years after attacking a university, Al-Shabaab has sustained its campaign, forcing many teachers, nurses and officials to flee north-eastern Kenya, one of the country’s most neglected regions. Abdullahi Abdille ICG Authorities must do more to tackle insecurity, reopen schools and counter the risk of increased militant recruitment. On 2 April 2015, four gunmen belonging to Al-Shabaab, the Somalia-based affiliate of al-Qaeda, began shooting on the campus of Garissa University College, the only major institution of higher learning in north-eastern Kenya. ... Read More »

Bring Behrouz home to Australia: he is one of us

There is a pivotal moment in Behrouz Boochani’s book, No Friend but the Mountains. In late August, 2013, a propeller-driven plane stands waiting on a strip on Christmas Island, to take asylum seekers to a faraway destination. Arnold Zable The Age Each man is escorted at two-minute intervals, 50 metres from a bus to the plane. They are held by the arms between two officers. At the base of the stairs, they are handed over to a second pair of officers, ... Read More »

A public register of child sex offenders will do more harm than good

If politicians are looking for a sure fire vote winner then anything that punishes people convicted of sex offences does the trick. Greg Barns The Canberra Times So there is likely to be little resistance to Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton’s budget announcement of $7.8 million to establish a National Public Register of Child Sex Offenders. Dutton is proposing that this register would allow all Australians to see names, aliases and photographs of sex offenders, as well as their date ... Read More »

Why are Kenyans starving in food-secure Kenya?

The country has more than enough food to feed its population; yet dozens are starving in its drought-stricken north. Patrick Gathara Al Jazeera As a biting drought cuts through a swath of suffering across much of the north and northeastern parts of Kenya, imperilling nearly a million people, government officials and journalists have been locked in an obscene public relations battle over… Despite the heart-wrenching pictures and footage of emaciated villagers published on newspaper front pages, broadcast on TV channels ... Read More »

Erdoğan’s Four Challenges

Turkey’s president suffered a frustrating setback in local government elections as democratic resilience prevailed. Marc Pierini Carnegie Europe Watch out for the impact on the economy, the rule of law, defense, and Syria. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s campaigning was vintage AKP electioneering: playing a nationalist fiddle; hiding economic realities with creative accounting and cosmetic measures; equating low interest rates (again) with low inflation; accusing foreigners of weakening the currency; threatening the opposition; continuing the crackdown on free speech and ... Read More »

Fiscal therapy: 12 framing facts and what they mean

The American economy is in great shape in many ways. Riding the cusp of an expansion that started in 2009, the stock market is up, consumer confidence is booming, and unemployment has fallen to historically low levels. William G. Gale Brookings But dig beneath the surface and trouble looms. America faces two distinct but related challenges that policymakers must address in the coming years if they hope to provide a brighter future for the nation and its people. The first ... Read More »

Sharia in Brunei: Gay sex, abortion, extramarital sex, stealing now punishable by stoning, amputation, death

Today, the Brunei Government ushers in a harsh new penal code that requires death by stoning for extramarital sex, anal sex, and abortion; amputation of limbs for stealing; and 100 lashes with a whip for lesbian sex. dateline SBS “Brunei’s new penal code is barbaric to the core, imposing archaic punishments for acts that shouldn’t even be crimes,” said Phil Robertson, Human Rights Watch’s deputy Asia director. The controversial changes to Brunei’s penal code were first published in 2013, and ... Read More »

The Modi Years

In its attack on civil liberties, its restructuring of the State to effect an acute centralisation of power, and its pervasive purveyance of fear, the Modi years resemble Indira Gandhi’s Emergency. Prabhat Patnaik NewsClick In its attack on civil liberties, its restructuring of the State to effect an acute centralisation of power, and its pervasive purveyance of fear, the Modi years resemble Indira Gandhi’s Emergency. But the resemblance stops there. In fact the two differ fundamentally in several ways. First, ... Read More »

Children face reduction in life expectancy of 20 months ‘due to air pollution’

New research shows how a child born today could be affected by highly polluted air The Irish Times The life expectancy of a child born today will be reduced by an average of 20 months due to health damage caused by air pollution, researchers said on Wednesday. In South Asia, where air pollution levels are highest, the life expectancy for children born in countries like Pakistan and Bangladesh is forecast to fall by more than 30 months, according to the annual State of Global Air ... Read More »

How Climate Change Is Fuelling the U.S. Border Crisis

In the western highlands of Guatemala, the question is no longer whether someone will leave but when. By Jonathan Blitzer Photography by Mauricio Lima The New Yorker In the center of Climentoro, in the western highlands of Guatemala, a dozen large white houses rise above the village’s traditional wooden huts like giant monuments. The structures are made of concrete and fashioned with archways, colonnaded porches, and elaborate moldings. “Most of them are empty,” Feliciano Pérez, a local farmer, told me. ... Read More »

‘Put yourself in their hooves’: Tourists urged to reconsider riding donkeys in Santorini

Donkeys have been used to ferry human cargo up Santorini’s notoriously steep steps for generations, but holidaymakers are being urged to think twice before riding mules on the Greek island, after some of the animals were found to have spinal injuries and saddle sores. Gavin Haines The Telegraph Welfare groups have partly blamed overweight tourists for the travails of Santorini’s donkeys, which are often overburdened and typically spend long days in the sun with little access to shade or water. ... Read More »

Turkish democracy is the winner in these momentous local elections

By toppling the AKP in Ankara and Istanbul, the opposition has shown that Erdoğan’s ruling party is not an invincible force Sinan Ülgen The Guardian Sunday’s local elections in Turkey resulted in a major setback for the president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, and his ruling alliance. The ruling Justice and Development party (AKP) and nationalist MHP coalition lost Turkey’s major cities to an opposition ushering in an era of change at the local level. The political transitions in Istanbul and Ankara ... Read More »

Defusing the Crisis at Jerusalem’s Gate of Mercy

A standoff looms between Palestinian worshippers and Israeli police over a shuttered building at Jerusalem’s Holy Esplanade. ICG Israel and Muslim religious authorities should reopen the building to lessen tensions at the sacred site, where small incidents have blown up into prolonged violence before. What’s new? At Jerusalem’s Holy Esplanade (Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount), Israeli authorities and Palestinian worshippers are struggling over control of a building next to the Gate of Mercy. Shut by Israeli authorities since 2003, Palestinians forcibly regained ... Read More »

A Turning Point for Turkey’s Opposition?

The AKP’s losses in key major cities in Turkey’s local elections provide opposition parties the opportunity to hold the ruling party accountable. A.Kadir Yildirim Carnegie After an unusually quiet campaign season in Turkey, the March 31, 2019 local elections delivered one of the most stunning results in recent memory. While securing a majority of the votes nationwide, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his Justice and Development Party (AKP) lost major ground. Interestingly, from a historical perspective, the AKP outperformed ... Read More »